Evaluation 2017: From Learning to Action

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Data, Deliberation and Democracy: Promoting politically engaged citizens through evaluative research and data-rich programming

Session Number: 3039
Track: Collaborative, Participatory & Empowerment Evaluation
Session Type: Panel
Tags: "hard to reach" populations, Accountability, action research, advocacy evaluation, Audience Response Systems, collaborative evaluation, democratic evaluation, social network analysis
Session Chair: Linda Stern [Director of Monitoring, Evaluation & Learning - National Democratic Institute]
Presenter 1: Linda Stern [Director of Monitoring, Evaluation & Learning - National Democratic Institute]
Presenter 2: Tomas Hrustic [Institute of Ethnology, Slovak Academy of Science]
Presenter 3: Tomas Hrustic [Institute of Ethnology, Slovak Academy of Science]
Time: Nov 11, 2017 (08:00 AM - 09:00 AM)
Room: Taylor

Abstract 1 Title: Evaluating Political Networks for Democratic Change
Presentation Abstract 1:

Political networks -- political parties, advocacy coalitions and legislative caucuses -- are both instrumental and intrinsic to democratic development. Through political networks, weaker agents aggregate the concerns of the disenfranchised and develop a power base to more effectively negotiate the interests of minority groups with the majority.  Coalitions also provide a seedbed for democracy through civic engagement, cooperative problem-solving, peer deliberation and the promotion of new  democratic norms.  This presentation shares NDI’s experience in using Social Network Analysis (SNA) to map and measure advocacy coalition development in Burkina Faso, Turkey, South Korea and Uganda.  The presentation highlights how coalition members were engaged in the design of the social network analysis, as well as the interpretation of visualized SNA data.  The presentation will share the strengths, limitations and utility of SNA in diagnosing the health of advocacy networks, measuring political capital and informing future advocacy initiatives and strategic alliances.

Abstract 2 Title: Community-Based Participatory Research (CBPR): Partnering with Roma Populations in Democratic Evaluations and Integrating New Approaches in National Research Institutes
Presentation Abstract 2:

Community-Based Participatory Research (CBPR) engages those closest to the issues under evaluation as analytical partners.  A form of participatory action research, the aim of CBPR is to increase knowledge of the issues for and with program partners.  After ten years of programming to promote the political mainstreaming of excluded Roma populations, NDI wanted to implement a retrospective evaluation that was not only accountable to its donors, but also to its local Roma partners.  Using a CBPR model, NDI engaged Roma partners in each step of the research cycle, first by establishing a Roma Advisory Committee to scope and oversee the evaluation and then training Roma Research Assistants to implement community based research in 10 Roma communities in Eastern Slovakia.   Moreover, when national research institutions utilize democratic evaluation methods they contribute to deepening democratization in their own countries.  This presentation shares NDI’s experience, identifying the benefits and challenges of CBPR with marginalized communities, as well as the strengths and limitations of the CBPR model itself. In contexts with weak transparency and accountability, democratic evaluations can be transformative in raising the voices of the disenfranchised in the national policy discourse.  The presenter also shares how the Institute of Ethnology at the Slovak Academy of Sciences is incorporating democratic and participatory evaluations into program evaluation, research and teaching.  In the past, the Institute used traditional methods to evaluate national programs such as the Slovak Field Social Work program for Roma and the Secondary Education Scholarship Program for Roma. Based on its experience working with the National Democratic Institute (NDI) in piloting democratic evaluations with Roma, the Institute of Ethnology shares how it has begun incorporating democratic and participatory methods into its national program evaluations, highlighting the benefits, challenges and pitfalls in Slovakia.

Theme: Learning About Evaluation Use and Users
Audience Level: Beginner

Session Abstract (150 words): 

The purpose of democratic evaluations is to promote an informed citizenry that can more effectively engage in democratic processes and hold public institutions accountable. The democratic evaluator works across multiple stakeholders to broker data and democratize knowledge. In this panel the National Democratic Institute (NDI) shares examples of Democratic Evaluation, including: (i) Promoting open electoral data and training citizen groups on the use of data for government accountability; (ii) Using social network analyses data with political networks to diagnose advocacy initiatives; (iii) Using a Community Based Participatory Research (CBPR) model with marginalized Roma communities to test critical assumptions about political voice, political space and local government accountability; and (iv) incorporating participatory methods into national research institutes.  In line with AEA principles of evaluations for public good, these NDI case studies demonstrate the use of data and deliberation to advance civic engagement, advocacy and government accountability.

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